Going It Alone Is No Longer The Answer In The New Economy!
Because one of the biggest changes in managing a business today in The New Economy, compared to say just five years ago, is the importance of building an “ecosystem” where you form partnerships or collaborations.
Some of these collaborations may be formal and long term. Others less formal and perhaps established only for a discreet period of time for a project. But ultimately what these collaborations do, is allow you to expand your capabilities or influence, and hence the possibility of growing your business at a faster rate, compared to just going it alone.
However, understanding what are the best collaborations for your business is not easy think.
You Have To Be Strategic
You see the traditional business model was straight forward and basically could be described as a simple supply chain. There were inputs (suppliers), then you would do some value add (employees), then outputs (clients). There were also other resources such as external accountants or legal firms (professional consultants) which together enabled the traditional business model to operate.
In the New Economy however, suppliers can be clients and clients can be suppliers. Marketing also is not straight forward as we are living in the age of affiliate marketing and influencers – it is just not as clear these days.
So, you need to be very strategic in how you go about this, not random or adhoc, if you want to expand your business’s capabilities or influence.
Meet Your Ten Tribes
That is why at The Startup Business, we work with our clients to map out their own unique “ecosystem” in to what we call the “ten tribes…
Suppliers – if you can increase your sales, then your supplier’s sales will increase. So, the things to consider is to frame opportunities along those lines and keep in mind intangible activities such as social media or events that your suppliers may be hosting where you can share your experience.
Leads, Prospects, Clients – are often only considered a source of revenue, but you need to nurture them so they become raving fans where you may be able to procure testimonials or even introductions. You may even consider establishing a program of sorts, where you provide some additional value on any leads they may introduce you to.
Industry Expert Authorities – regardless of your industry, there are experts – so make sure you know who they are, then reach out to them, offer your channels to them to share their insights and thereby allowing them to reach a greater audience through your ecosystem – then they may help you!
Associations – as with Industry Expert Authorities, there are also Associations which you will find relevant for your business – so make sure you get involved. Volunteer, present, make an impact – because this will build your presence and credibility over time.
Promotional Partners – look for individuals or groups that could serve as a promotional partner for you, that can open doors. One common way is with event organisers where they ask a range of speakers, ensuring no direct competition, but still supporting a specific theme.
Affiliate Marketing – this is where you have a formal program, where others can sell your products and services and in doing so, earn a financial benefit such as a commission. Amazon is a great example as they offer affiliate marketing to their clients and followers – but you do not have to be the size of Amazon to do have an affiliate marketing strategy for your business.
Joint Ventures & Investors – depending upon your business complexity, we may be looking at thousands if not millions of dollars plus a lot of rich lawyers as well. However small businesses should not overlook this opportunity as well because through the JV or investors, other opportunities, access to additional capability or new markets can be obtained.
Complimentary Competitors – these are the businesses that target the identical customer profile as your business does, in the same segment or geography, but have complimentary offerings as yours. Therefore, when you work together and promote each other, the complementary nature of your offerings might result in both of you doing more sales, or at minimum, leveraging each other’s capabilities such as shared events or even specific campaigns – a great win-win!
Supplementary Competitors – these are the businesses that target the identical customer profile as your business does, in a different segment or geography, and have a competing offering as yours. However, there just may be the case where it is advantageous for the both of you to collaborate in order to support your customer’s needs – generating goodwill for all parties at the same time!
Influencers – are a New Economy Business strategy. This is where through the power of social media you can become an influencer on behalf of a brand, or engage with individuals to become your market influencers. While this is generally a new area, there are expectations that full transparency occurs of the relationship between the business and the influencer, it is nevertheless an effective strategic to have individuals talk to their followers about your business!
How I Became A Global Brand Ambassador
When I set up my businesses, I decided to embrace social media on day one. However, because I spent the preceding years working as a management consultant in the corporate sector and recognised as a thought leader, it was natural for me to continue, but on a small scale… well initially!
As I started to build my presence across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, as well as speaking and publishing, I started to get more and more invitations. To look back at it now it’s quite remarkable what has taken place including my relationship with Microsoft. In this case, Microsoft was seeking influencers who were typical of the client segments they were targeting. Fortunately for me, they had been observing my activity on social media for quite some time and then reached out to me.
Do You Want To Expand Your Business?
So, let me ask you a question… do you think if you start defining your ecosystem in terms of the ten tribes and start implementing some of these strategies, could this make a difference to your business? Would it be possible that you bring in more leads? Would it be possible that you tap into additional capability, skill sets or even markets? Could it be possible that your business growth is accelerated, or if you have stagnated, renewed, and revitalised?
Find Your First 100 Names
Now you might be thinking right now how to get started? Well it is as simple as drawing up ten columns on a whiteboard (I prefer it this way as it is more visual – floor to ceiling ones even better!). Then start putting names down – first aim for five for each column, then push yourself for ten. Once you have one hundred names (10×10), you need to prioritise and take action – simple! If you need help, then contact me because we want to build momentum in your business that is unstoppable!
And always remember…
“Taking Massive Action Is Hard Work – But It Gives You Massive Results”